Phillip J. Eskenazi’s practice focuses on complex business and securities litigation, accountant liability, and class action defense.
Phil represents clients across many industries in a wide range of complex commercial disputes. He has represented clients in well more than 100 class actions involving employee or consumer claims.
He also has an active trial practice and has been lead trial counsel in several notable trial victories.
Phil is admitted to practice before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit; and all state and federal courts in California.
- lead trial counsel for a national accounting firm in defense of claims brought by a group of defrauded investors who were seeking to hold the accountants liable for their investment losses of approximately $20 million plus punitive damages based on tax work performed for the alleged fraudulent entity and perpetrator of the fraud. The jury found in favor of the accounting firm and the case was recognized by the Daily Journal, California’s leading legal publication, in its annual listing of the top ten defense verdicts (two-week jury trial in California state court).
- lead trial counsel for the defendant, a Silicon Valley software executive, in an SEC enforcement action for securities and accounting fraud that was followed closely by the business and legal press and was recognized by the Daily Journal in its annual listing of the top ten defense verdicts (two-week jury trial in federal court).
- lead trial counsel for a national CPA firm in defense of claims for fraud and negligent misrepresentation by a group of broker-dealers who sought more than $100 million and were allegedly victimized by the firm’s role in a $2 billion Ponzi scheme. After defeating several of the broker-dealers’ claims on summary judgment, the remainder proceeded to trial, which commenced with a multi-day evidentiary hearing on a motion to strike the broker-dealers’ damages expert and corresponding damages claims. The Court granted the motion, and having no damages expert for trial, the broker-dealers then settled on confidential terms.
- lead trial counsel in defense of numerous accountant liability claims involving a range of financial reporting issues, including independence.
- lead trial counsel for a national accounting firm defending a class action alleging that its non-licensed associates are misclassified as exempt employees (defeated class certification; order affirmed by California Court of Appeal in a published opinion).
- lead trial counsel for a global appliance manufacturer defending a class action alleging that over 300,000 consumers purchased defective washing machines that had a propensity to overflow (defeated class certification).
- lead trial counsel for a national retailer defending a series of state-wide class actions alleging that tens of thousands of independent contractors were misclassified (defeated class certification in four states and secured one state-wide court approved settlement).
- lead trial counsel for a national retailer defending a class action alleging that over 55,000 employees work “off-the-clock” (resulted in court approved settlement).
- lead trial counsel for an insurance company defending a class action challenging the legality of its vacation policy (prevailed on motion for summary judgment).
- lead trial counsel for a global telecommunications provider defending a class action alleging unlawful overcharges on long-distance calls (prevailed at trial on a motion for nonsuit).
- lead trial counsel for a financial services company defending a class action alleging that it received unlawful fees in conjunction with mortgage transactions (resulted in court approved settlement).
- represented a multi-national bank defending a series of class actions wherein the plaintiffs sought to recover over $200 million on behalf of depositors who were allegedly victimized by the bank’s role in a Ponzi Scheme (prevailed on motions to dismiss; affirmed by Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals).
- represented a leading homebuilder defending a nationwide class action alleging that the homebuilder engages in fraudulent business and advertising practices related to its marketing and sale of new homes (prevailed on a motion to dismiss; affirmed by Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals).
- trial counsel for a major aerospace company against claims of fraud in the development of a weapons system, in the first case that the federal government tried before a jury under the False Claims Act after the Act was amended to make it easier for the government to prevail. The National Law Journal listed the case in its annual listing of the top defense verdicts in the country.
- lead trial counsel for a global telecommunications provider in a multimillion-dollar contractual dispute with a telemarketing company (one-week bench trial in federal court; judgment affirmed by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals).
- trial counsel for a memory module manufacturer in defense of claims for misappropriation of trade secrets and fraud arising out of a failed acquisition involving two competitors (five-week jury trial in California state court).
- trial counsel for a nationwide lender in defense of claims for fraudulent lending practices (settled during a jury trial in California state court).
- lead trial counsel for a securities brokerage firm in a multimillion-dollar dispute regarding alleged improper investment practices (two-week NASD arbitration).
- lead trial counsel for a gaming company in prosecution of misappropriation of trade secrets claim against a competitor (obtained judgment that was affirmed by the California Court of Appeal).
- lead trial counsel for a visual display technology company in a case against an OEM supplier concerning a $500 million OEM contract.
- lead trial counsel in defense of numerous purported class actions involving customer privacy claims.
- JD, University of California, Hastings College of the Law, cum laude, 1992
- BS, University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business (Accounting emphasis), 1988
- Los Angeles County Bar Association
- Association of Business Trial Lawyers
- American Bar Association
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